The Children’s Home of Highlands Presbytery was first envisioned and organized by Dr. George H. Gilmer, Superintendent of Home Missions of Abingdon Presbytery in the early 1900’s. The Girls’ Industrial School was opened September 3, 1919 under the direction of Miss Charlotte Webb at Foster Falls. A large brick building , originally built as a summer resort hotel for the mining officials, served the Girls’ Industrial School for many years.
In the early 1930’s, it was decided to include boys in the program so that families would not have to be separated and so the Girls’ Industrial School became the Children’s Home of Abingdon Presbytery. The boys and girls attended public schools in Wythe County and worshipped at the Galena Presbyterian Church at Max Meadows. In September, 1939, one floor of the main building was destroyed by fire. This was a terrific financial blow to the Home and only because of the sacrificial gifts from laymen in the area was the institution saved at this time. The necessary funds were secured, the building restored and the Home continued at Foster Falls until the 1960’s.
In the late 1950’s, the Board determined that the buildings were deteriorated beyond remodeling. The home was located several miles from shopping and medical services and it was felt that relocation in a larger community would enable more participation in school and community activities. After consultation with Group Child Care Consultant Services of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Board was convinced that relocation was the most practical course. Funds were raised to purchase the 89 acre Green Meadows Farm on the southwest edge of Wytheville.
We moved to our current campus in 1962 and continue our mission of “Giving Children’s Hope and Purpose for the Future” as we reach out to help children and families in need.
1919 Home began at Foster Falls as a Refining School for Girls
1930’s Changed from school to Children’s Home for both girls and boys
1939 Main Building Burned at Foster Falls
1962 Moved Children’s Home to Wytheville Campus
1964 Expanded Program to include another cottage and Adminisration Building
1967 Built Eckman Chapel
1974 Built Manse
1992 Began On-Campus School Program
1993 Built Lamb Center
1994 Celebrated 75th Anniversary
Refocused Ministry on Child Care for Abused and Neglected Children
1998 Purchased the former Family Resource Building which was built on our campus
2000 Partnered with Minnick School Program on campus
2003 Fire in Gilmer Cottage – moved boys cottage to former family resource center building.
2003 McGavock Center built and opened to house our educational, recreational and food services programs
2004 Launched New Dawn Society Program
2009 90th Anniversary of PCHH of the Highlands
2009 Launched Church Covenant and Guardian Angel Programs
Even though the Home as suffered from it’s share of hurdles over the years, the love and passion to help children who have been abused and neglected has been evident throughout this ministry. We have been blessed to have dedicated staff, board of directors and donors who were insistent that we continue this ministry. We count our blessings daily as we provide the children God has entrusted to us the best care possible.